Rep. Paul Ryan has a message for fellow Republicans: Let’s stick together and carefully pick our fights with President Barack Obama.

In a speech Saturday to conservatives, the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee outlined a pragmatic approach for dealing with a second Obama administration. Saying that Obama would attempt to divide Republicans, Ryan urged them to avoid internal squabbles.

“We can’t get rattled. We won’t play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united,” Ryan said at the National Review Institute’s weekend conference on the future of conservatism. “We have to show that if given the chance, we can govern. We have better ideas.”

The GOP is reeling from back-to-back presidential defeats and trying to determine whether to oppose Obama at every turn or shape his proposals with conservative principles.

How the party rebounds was a major theme of the three-day meeting of conservative activists, a dominant voice in the GOP. A similar theme dominated the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, which ended Friday in Charlotte, N.C.